Journal of Youth and Adolescence

, Volume 33, Issue 1, pp 71–80

Prevalence and Predictors of Sexual Risks Among Homeless Youth

  • Linda L. Halcón
  • Alan R. Lifson

DOI: 10.1023/A:1027338514930

Cite this article as:
Halcón, L.L. & Lifson, A.R. Journal of Youth and Adolescence (2004) 33: 71. doi:10.1023/A:1027338514930


This study examined prevalence of sexual risks among homeless adolescents and described factors associated with those risks. Community-based outreach methods were used successfully to access this difficult-to-reach population. The sample included 203 homeless youth aged 15–22 recruited from community sites. Questionnaire items addressed demographics, sexual behaviors, alcohol/drug use, STI history and testing, and pregnancy history. In cross-sectional analysis, 58.7% of males and 75.6% of females reported recent sexual intercourse. Of those, one third of males and half of the females used no barrier method with at least one partner. Both gender (female) and race/ethnicity (non-Black) were associated with having intercourse without a barrier contraceptive method. Over one fifth reported a history of “survival sex” or receiving money, drugs, clothing, shelter, or food for sex. These results show disturbingly high rates of a number of sexual risks, reinforcing the need for targeted interventions with this highly vulnerable population.

homeless youth adolescents sexual behavior 

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Linda L. Halcón
    • 1
  • Alan R. Lifson
    • 2
  1. 1.University of MinnesotaMinneapolis
  2. 2.Division of Infectious Diseases, School of MedicineUniversity of MinnesotaUSA

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